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I tested the iPhone’s new PS1 emulator Gamma

Nostalgia merchants rejoice. A developer named ZodTTD has created a PlayStation 1 emulator available for free on the iOS App Store.

Do you yearn for the polygon-filled primitive days of Diablo, Banjo-Kazooie, and Spyro? If so, we’ve some good news, provided you have an iPhone or iPad.

A developer called ZodTTD, who has a penchant for creating emulators of old programs and hardware, has just released ‘Gamma’, a third-party app which mimics the PlayStation 1 on your iPhone.

Known to friends as Benjamin Stark, Gamma’s creator has long toyed around with creating emulators of consoles from bygone eras. Having developed TurboGraft-16 and Nintendo-64 ports for iPhone in 2008 and 2009, Stark’s magnum opus has dropped more than a decade on.

As someone who was around to play PlayStation 1 games at launch (don’t laugh), the brief time I’ve had to toy around with Gamma has been truly enjoyable and mostly hitch-free.

Both Teken 3 and Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee ran smoothly – the early noughties equivalent of smoothly, anyway – and I was even able to save and sync my games thanks to the integration of Google Drive and Dropbox features.

A neat function allows you pause and resume your game at any point, instead of grinding to complete a full level. Sadly, this luxury was never afforded in my childhood and a few controllers were left destroyed as a result.

On that note, the app offers up several digital controller overlays which can be used in landscape mode and they’re surprisingly responsive, certainly enough so that it can’t be an excuse for failure – even on Crash Bandicoot.

A connectivity option also suggests you can boot up your Bluetooth controller or keyboard of choice, though I’ve yet to test this out myself. Playing PS1 using a PS5 controller on an iPhone 15 is a little too dystopian for me, but you do you.

In all seriousness, though, Gamma is an impressive technological feat and far from just a gimmick. As I’m typing, I’ve also seen that the app has grabbed artwork for both titles automatically in the game library, much like the streaming app Plex does. Impressive.

Whether you’re looking to scratch a nostalgic itch, or want to experience the games that your elders won’t stop banging on about, Gamma provides the easiest and most accessible way to do so.

Chances are, most of us don’t have a working PS1 console and a scart-lead-to-HDMI cable laying around, so the Gamma app is a convenient alternative.

It’s widely reported that Gen Z is suffering from ‘streaming fatigue’ and there is a growing preference to choosing physical media over algorithms within the cohort.

That being said, in a world where digital-only consoles roll out every couple of years and some of our favourite games have no physical release at all (cough Alan Wake II), I’m willing to enjoy Gamma for what it is.

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